Steve Clarke's message to Hearts man Zander Clark as Scotland prepare for a new No.1

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National coach faces a dilemma over two Premiership stoppers

Scotland manager Steve Clarke today laid out the challenge for Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark as he attempts to beat Motherwell's Liam Kelly to be national team No.1. Clarke said the keeper selected for the final two European Championship qualifiers against Georgia and Norway would need to impress in training and cope with the level of expectation upon them.

Norwich City's Angus Gunn is injured and Clark's Tynecastle team-mate Craig Gordon is still working on fitness after 10 months out with a broken leg. Neither were included in Scotland's 23-man squad for the visit to Tbilisi next Thursday and the game against Norway at Hampden three days later. That means a new No.1 will be picked.

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Rangers keeper Robby McCrorie has been added to the squad as back-up alongside Clark and Kelly, but he has not played any competitive football this season. Scotland coaching staff are realistically preparing to choose between Clark and Kelly as this month's No.1. Both made their senior international debuts last month, playing one half each of the friendly defeat by France in Lille.

"I don't know whether the 45 minutes will stand them in good stead or not," admitted national coach Clarke. "Obviously, one of them is going to get a chance to play in the games coming up. It's a big camp for them, they know they have to impress. They have been in a lot of squads so they understand it. They know the expectation around them, so hopefully the train well ready to play."

Scotland have already qualified for next summer's European Championship finals but have a chance of winning Group A if they can beat both Georgia and Norway. As well as Gunn and Gordon, they are without captain Andy Robertson, plus defenders Kieran Tierney, Aaron Hickey and Grant Hanley.

Full Scotland squad:

Goalkeepers: Zander Clark (Hearts), Liam Kelly (Motherwell), Ross McCrorie (Rangers).

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Defenders: Liam Cooper (Leeds United), Josh Doig (Hellas Verona), Jack Hendry (Al-Ettifaq), Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest), Nathan Patterson (Everton), Anthony Ralston (Celtic), Ryan Porteous (Watford), Greg Taylor (Celtic).

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Lewis Ferguson (Bologna), Billy Gilmour (Brighton), Ryan Jack (Rangers), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United).

Forwards: Ché Adams (Southampton), Jacob Brown (Luton Town), Ryan Christie (Bournemouth), Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers).

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